Solo RPGs on Your Table - August 2017
Andreas Kaiser
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Welcome to
Solo RPGs on Your Table – August 2017



New to this list? A hearty welcome! Don't feel afraid to post, comment or discuss anything you like.


The "rules" are easy to learn and keep in mind:

1. Roll for initiative. Get in touch with the GM (in this case me) and... Have fun. The most important thing.

2. Play any RPG (pen&paper, gamebook, whatever...) and post about. What happened during your session? How do you play? Which components do you use? How did you get to this game? Mini review or session report? It's up to you! Share as much or as little as you want. You can't do anything wrong here. What you think is an RPG, is an RPG.

3. Be kind to each other.

4. Have tons of fun!


donated to this list will be distributed for contributions.


SROYT Resources
Solo Roleplaying Guild
The HQ! Make sure to join and subscribe.

SROYT Monthly Geeklist Subscription Thread - The Meta-List
If you would like to host a month by yourself, post it there or on any SROYT list. New hosts are always welcome! And make sure to subscribe, so you won't miss a month!

Roleplaying Alone Together
This is a place to go if you like to play an RPG that you usually play solitaire with other people who ALSO usually play solitaire RPGs.

Solo Gamebook Master Review list
The place to go on BGG for Gamebooks! Make sure to check it out.

SROYT Made me buy this!
This list can cost you some money! I know for sure. Want to post about it? Follow that link. And I am sure you find some more interesting stuff over there.

Need More Tables (Or Other World Building Aids) for Solo/GM-less Gaming!
I highly recommend this!

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Future Hosts:
September:
Matt M
United States
Virginia
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October:
Ron A
United States
Coronado
California
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Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet-Gen. Mattis
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November:
Paolo Robino
Italy
Dueville
Vicenza
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Anybody up for December?

Now prepare your pens, papers, dice, cards, characters, maps, sheets, books, choose your weapon and prepare for the adventure!
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1. RPG Item: Our Last Best Hope [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:3854]
Adam Gastonguay
United States
Pottstown
Pennsylvania
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Act Three! Everybody Dies!
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This page being empty is just....wrong. So I'm putting this here.

I have my notebook beside me. I'm amazed at how many pages I've scribbled in already with just four scenes in. I've also got to get more up on MY BLOG but month changeovers are hard on accountants, so I haven't had much time. But here's the state of the game so far:

Event Pool
Black Dice: 6
White Dice: 2

The Plan:
Plot Points: 4
White Dice: 3

Alison Haslip: Engineer
Plot Points: 0
Harm: 0
Cards Played:
Sane
Secret

Jessica Barnez: Soldier (Deceased)
Plot Points: 0
Harm: 0
Cards Played:
Secret
Death

Dexter Pendragon: Scientist
Plot Points: 2
Harm: 1
Cards Played:
Sane

Shirley VanHousen: Doctor
Plot Points: 2
Harm: 0
Cards Played:
Crazy

Assets- Amazingly Fast Ship, Gigantic Dried Food Supply, Turbo Oxygenator/Air Purifyer, Emergency Weapons Capability

Threats currently on table:
There is no way to get around that asteroid without pulling 8g's!
Is this a psychotic episode or is something on this ship?
A micro-meteorite just breached the hull!
We're going to plow right through Jupiter's radiation belt!
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2. RPG Item: Tales from the Loop [Average Rating:9.15 Overall Rank:289]
Reverend Uncle Bastard
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Played two more scenes in my ongoing campaign.

With Vanda laid up with an injured knee, her sister Monika and their friend Nils go searching on Munso Island for a mysterious Echo Sphere, which is linked to both the strange creature Olaf heard in the woods and the disappearance of Nils' aunt.



I am still using Rory's Story Cubes to direct the story. Plus I am using a pair of Fate Dice (+,+,blank,blank,-,-) to answer yes/no/interrupt questions.



Read the whole campaign here:

Olaf's Vision - The Rev plays Tales from the Loop
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3. RPG Item: Heart of Ice [Average Rating:8.34 Overall Rank:1230]
Nicolette Tanksley
United States
Jackson
Missouri
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I haven't really tried to solo roleplay before, though I've been lurking here for the last year or so. I'm going to ease into it so I'll start with this gamebook. I recently purchased it with the rest of the Critical IF series. So let's see about it!
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4. RPG Item: Weird West Roleplaying Game Basic Rulebook [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Dave Shull
United States
San Francisco
California
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Trying something new tonight. Playing "Weird West" Pocket Mod RPG with the story telling framework of Two Hour Wargames "High Moon Dead Reckoning." I made up some Pocket Mod characters:

Washed up sheriff and Civil War veteran with horrifying flashbacks of strange wartime abominations he can't explain and never talks about.

A nun who was attcked by a vampire and a werewolf, but instead of turning she was granted with the power to detect and hunt both.

Mad scientist who attempted to experiment on himself and was horribly wounded-what was left of his body was connected to a steam powered suit.

An outlaw on the run from the law, known as "The Devil" on wanted posters for the unthinkable: cannibalism. But he swears that a reanimated corpse was to blame, and constantly searches for others who have experienced this abomination some have called "The zombie."

We'll see how this goes.

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5. RPG Item: Black Baron [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:5319]
Eric Dodd
New Zealand
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Here's a different solo gamebook for August. Rather than using text paragraphs to progress through the story, each entry is a first-person perspective view of the dungeon you're trying to escape from. There's also a two player game in the same book, for which you need the White Warlord gamebook for a friend to play. It plays like Ace of Aces: Powerhouse Series or Lost Worlds, though with the ability to hide and ambush your opponent, and attack with sword or bow and arrow.

There's about 100 different views of the maze you have to escape from, and a further 128 text entries with extra information about items, traps or puzzles you have found. The main drawback is that it's fairly easy if you follow the book's advice to map the maze and write down the clues you find.
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6. RPG Item: Book 06: Revenge of the Rainbow Dragons [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:5218]
Eric Miller
United States
College Station
Texas
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So I was taking a short family vacation...

And it rained...



So I read.

This is another of the D&D CYOA books I picked up a while back. I saved it (and some of the others) specifically for this trip. Hit up the spoiler tag if you want to read a bit about the trip...

Spoiler (click to reveal)
We went to Galveston. Stayed in a condo on the west end of the beach. Pretty nice place. There were 6 of us in a 1 bedroom unit- me, my wife, our son and his fiance and daughter and her boyfriend. There were bunk beds that the younger two used, and my son slept on the floor (remember he's an Eagle Scout) and potential daughter in-law got the couch. It was only two nights. We did nice touristy stuff.


The adventure (continued later as I sat by the Gulf of Mexico, and then finished later still by the pool) was easy enough. Ended up rescuing Imogene from her castle and then sending the three wayward wizards to that castle. No Rainbow Dragons to be seen. Bummer.

Well, that just means I'm going to have to go again! I've got more stuff to find out about!
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7. RPG Item: Down Among the Dead Men [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Shaun Austin
Australia
Townsville
Queensland
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Having had some success (and fun) with Heart of Ice but needing some time to forget things after three consecutive plays, I purchased another Critical If adventure.

I have only had two attempts so far, but I am already finding the puzzle aspect to be too random and uninspiring.

In Heart of Ice, behaving cautiously and using the knowledge of the world revealed by the book you could avoid danger and discover clues.
These clues would then be useful in helping you with the major decisions later in the adventure.

Down among the Dead men, doesn't seem to have any clues at all.
Most of the decisions have completely random results, and following common sense or taking caution doesn't seem to be a legitimate strategy.
It is more like a "Choose your own adventure" for teenagers, which generates purely random results to create a story. yuk
I didn't feel I had any control of what happened and my decisions had only an effect on the fluff of the tale not the results.
The good thing about this type of game is that there is no worry about remembering stuff, it is almost essential to remember past mistakes or you are sure to repeat them.
So I will continue playing, but I don't have as much enthusiasm for this as Heart of Ice. soblue
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8. RPG Item: Quill: A Letter-Writing Roleplaying Game for a Single Player [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
JiJi D
United States
Puyallup
Wa
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The friendly folks over at Solitaire Games on Your Table directed me here, so now I'll have double the chances of reading about things I like and binging at the store. *sigh* At any rate, I originally posted this over there.

Yesterday evening I planned to go through another chalice dungeon in Bloodborne (the board game, of course). Being around 9:30, though, I suddenly became incredibly lazy to move from my comfortable chair complete with a Zekers (adult Maine Coon) fast asleep in my lap, so I decided to stay put and work with what I had available within reach. Enter Quill. That, and Zekers is so large, and I am so scrawny, my legs tend to fall asleep.

I stumbled upon this game during some past Drive-thru RPG sale binge. It had shown up on the sidebar at checkout that tries to entice you to buy more stuff. I believe most of my purchases stem from also-like lists. The idea of a solo-rpg revolving around writing letters intrigues me, so I snagged it. I have only just now decided to do anything with it.

The first step in this game, of course, is choosing the character you are portraying. Being a student, I decided to pick the scholar. Their strength lies within language with penmanship coming second and heart last. Since heart had a poor rating, I felt torn between choosing a skill that would give me an extra die on tasks involving it, or strengthen my penmanship. I decided to leave heart out of it, and take Illumination.

Character: Scholar

Penmanship: Average
Language: Good
Heart: Poor

Chosen Skill: Illumination

The next task is picking the scenario which determines who you are writing to and why. There are only four scenarios, so I rolled a d4 to pick... what a scenario I got...

Scenario: The Father

An old friend of mine's son was found dead near my home, so my letter is to inform him--explain sensitively what happened and how I found him. However, my old friend would prefer to hear the news from someone of the cloth, so I'll miss out on an extra die on Language for the scenario for not being an appropriate character.

The next thing is to write five paragraph using one word from the Ink Pot (it's a given list in the scenario). What follows is the letter I wrote with superior words (scoring words), inferior words (failures to language rolls to include superior words), and flourishes colour coded. In parenthesis, I also noted my score.

Anthony!

It has been a long time, hasn't it old friend? I wish better circumstances brought me back to you, but I'll not beat-around-the-bush too much. My letter regards news of your dear boy (1pt). (Failed penmanship 0pts.)

You have--I'm sorry (... failed language and inferior words ruined this sentence) that your son is dead. (Failed penmanship again, too. 0pts.)

Do you remember the (failed flourish) drinking establishment (1pt) just down the row from my home? I know it has been a great while since you have visited me, but the troubling discovery happened in the alley beside that tavern. (used illumination. (Penmanship 1pt)

I am afraid I can offer you little insight as to how such a horrible event occurred without interference. A torrential downpour (succeeded flourish 2pt) that night must have covered the noise. It is the only explanation why things didn't end up cheerier.

I can only hope that you will feel at ease that he is now free in Heaven (succeeded flourish 2pt). Those responsible will face judgement. (Penmanship 1pt).

Letter Score: 8pts

Well, it is... not the greatest letter in the world. I laughed reading it over again. According to my score, the father thanked me and invited me to the funeral. Awww, that's nice. I guess. That's just the thanks I wanted--an invite to a funeral. What a strange reward. I suppose I should look at it from the lens that I didn't screw it up and we remain friends.

It's an entertaining game. The Ink Pot doesn't have too many word choices, but I suppose it is more about how you choose to use them than the amount. The challenge comes with only using one from the list per paragraph and once used, you can't repeat that word elsewhere. I also like how if you succeed a flourish roll, but fail the language roll, your inferior word scores -1pts. I took a huge risk with low heart score adding in the flourish.
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9. RPG Item: Mini Six Bare Bones Edition [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:990]
Martin Wehner
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Yesterday I finally finished my long-running solo adventure. I started it in 2015 and have played off and on, with long periods of breaks in between. I had been particularly inspired by the posts by
Kat Tastrophy
United States
Alexandria
VA
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The adventure is set in the Indiana Jones universe, with Indy starring as the main character. I used Mini Six to help guide the story, though I am definitely focused more on story than on mechanics.

I uploaded my narrative write-up as a session report: Indiana Jones: The White City

Following are some notes about the experience:

Overall: Lots of fun! I really enjoyed the experience. I ran out of steam toward the end a little bit. In the future I'll try to run shorter adventures or to break up the story into sub-chapters with defined beginnings and ends.

RPG: Mini Six Mini Six Bare Bones Edition worked great for this. Character creation was easy and quick for both PCs and NPCs. The system is light-weight enough that it allowed me to focus on story instead of getting bogged down in mechanics. I did refer to the The D6 System documents for inspiration for certain situations that aren't covered as much in Mini Six.

Unexpected twists I kept pretty firm control over how I wanted the story to flow, though I definitely let the die rolls help drive the story. For the most part, it felt like the system and die rolls pushed me in a good way to come up with twists and surprises in the story.

Tropes, Chekhov's gun, roll first I tried to create a narrative that is in line with the traditional tropes and feel of the Indiana Jones universe. Sometimes that meant not rolling for something that I really wanted to happen and just going with it. Most of the time it simply meant getting into the spirit and having the PCs and NPCs take actions that fit in. I could have used some of the mechanics more (e.g. Mini Six's complications) to hand out rewards for actions that fit in particularly well. I also tried to follow the "Chekhov's gun" rule of using whatever element I introduced (e.g. a map that Indy looks at, which turns up again dramatically in a later scene). In order to have things flow better, I generally used a "roll first, then describe the narrative" approach, i.e. I would figure out what the character wanted to do in general (e.g. run across the room, away from the bad guys), roll for the appropriate mechanic, and then describe narratively the outcome of the roll. I found that that worked well for me and that it allowed the narrative to flow quite smoothly.

Physical setup, notes I used my laptop to record the ongoing story. I used a simple LibreOffice document with predefined styles to distinguish between scene descriptions, in-person dialog, and mechanical notes. I used separate documents for the character sheets, a brief overview of the relationships between characters, and some story ideas and plot twist possibilities (some of which were used, some that weren't). I used physical dice and really enjoyed that tactile element. I also mostly used a printed-out copy of the rules, which made it easier to flip through them. Using the laptop and an electronic document made it faster and easier to write and edit the story, but it also tied me down more to a spot where I could set up everything. I often wished for more spontaneity and more portability, e.g. playing outside on the balcony or porch where I didn't want to drag my laptop to. For my next solo game I'm planning on using a paper notebook to record my notes instead and either paper copies of the rules and adventure information or my Kindle Paperwhite with PDFs.

Adventure This was a home-made adventure, without any pre-written content (though it was heavily inspired by existing Indiana Jones stories and movies). I liked having total freedom to have the story go any which way. But it also placed more of a creative burden on me. I did not use any setting books or genre-specific RPGs, which may have made things easier. Next, I will probably use a pre-written adventure instead to try that out and to experience part the shared space of our hobby (e.g. Caravan to Ein Arris or S1: Tomb of Horrors).
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10. RPG: Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) [Average Rating:8.20 Overall Rank:7]
Damian DiLuzio
United States
Andover
Minnesota
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Solo RPG has been a lot more work than I anticipated. This is not a negative statement on it, but I'm fortunate to have been in the right mindset to take on this task. I've been playing around with the wiardraw and jondoc web pages trying to find a fit that will work with my gaming style.

I started off making my own dungeon, but the frustration of hallway after hallway made my game drag on longer than I wanted. I like the precreated dungeons on Jon, but had some issues working around the traps presented in it. My final solution was ot search for traps, refer to the DM map and see if anything was there and deal with that as results came up.

So far this has been a success. I've been able to keep most of the information hidden from myself by only using the player map. I've also been using some of the info from wizard to help with random items in the room.

I''ve just recently defeated a Minitor Skeleton, however, without a Rogue in my party (the one that I had met in the opening scene moved on) has made this dungeon a bit of a challenge. We'll be heading into the local cities to see what we can find soon.

I've been using my miniatures from Descent in my battles. Now that this part of my world is being flushed out, things are moving along much more smoothly now.

Another positive side effect of playing these RPGs solo is it's increased my enjoyment of playing board games due to the structure of the game play compared to the "on the fly" feel of solo RPG. I've really been enjoying the best of both worlds.

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11. RPG Item: Pinball [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
JiJi D
United States
Puyallup
Wa
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With my evening wind-down, I decided to try out this solo gamebook. I love these kinds of things.

I've attempted to write the narrative of the game to make it a more interesting a read, as the book really just simulates the movement of the ball and scoring and isn't too exciting as far as prose goes (I also didn't want to plagiarize large portions of the book listing outcomes).

It's an okay game that I would play again just to log as a narrative. I've used this game as a mini-activity in modern games adding more flair to the text and it always goes over well. Especially when the PCs decide to make wagers amongst themselves. It is more interesting than skill checks. Possessed arcade machines had come up frequently in my TFOS campaigns in school, so as a homage to those days and finding myself loving modern monster-driven mysteries, I present a game played on a mysterious pinball machine in a non-chain pizza parlour.

The Pinball Investigation


It seems that every town has a pizza place with one or two retro arcade machines--maybe a pinball machine. Every city I've lived in the United States has had such a place and my work has taken me all over. There's no denying a strange supernatural attraction drives people to engage these machines and I regret never having the time to fully investigate this phenomenon. Always another missing person case comes up with mysterious circumstances and another crypto who couldn't help himself and broke the rules. This might be a good chance.

After ordering my large pizza with the usual toppings--kelp, extra anchovies, and fish sauce--I eyed the machine for a moment. My partner, Terrance, blew me off to go tree-climbing on the reservation. He does that once in awhile. It's the only thing that calms the chimp in him.

I took a sip of my diet soda and stood up, the chair pushing out behind me. The lights dazzled me, drawing me over. Clumsily, I fished into my pocket for the only two quarters I had and smiled at the satisfying clunks they made when inserted. I stared at the backbox, my face reflecting in the glass covering a fish-headed creature not too similar to myself in appearance. Behind the creature was a swamp and a woman with a 50's hairstyle, mouth agog in a perpetual silent scream. I sighed and gripped the left side rail with webbed hand. I had to defeat this thing. The monster laughed as if mocking me. I'd soon show it.

With my right hand, I gripped the plunger, pulling it all the way back. I launched that ball hard straight towards the drop targets and it hits them dead on, knocking them down. The scoreboard displays 500 points and the ball rolls downwards fast--right down the middle towards the flippers. I'm ready. I push the right flipper hoping to hit it and not knock it out with the backstroke. That's not how it happened. I struck too early flushing the ball right down the drain. The score adds 1000 from some random bonus--I never understood scoring on these machines. I stare at the 1500 points displayed on the marquee and sigh. That's not an impressive score for the first ball.

Taking a quick break, I glance around to see if my pizza has been delivered. Of course not. I'm stuck being a wannabe wizard at this old table I'm convinced possesses latent supernatural power. I grab the plunger and go for a medium-hard launch that sends the ball towards the left bumper. It makes a loud bing and strikes the bumper three more times. The physical sounds of the ball striking and bouncing around satisfy me. My score goes up 400 points. The ball surges across the table towards the right bumper. Yes! These are very satisfying to hit. It bounces 5 more times ricocheting off the wall! The rapid bings bring a smile to my face. My score rises 600 more points and the ball finally quit and rolls towards the right lane towards the drain. Angry, I hit the machine hoping to to deter the ball from its fate. The machine locks with the marquee displaying the word TILT in giant letters. My game is over. My grand total of 1,600 points pathetically scroll across the marquee and the monstrous fish-headed swamp creature mocked me again with a laugh.

Sighing, I put my hands in the pockets of my yellow windbreaker and frowned, my left hand curling around two quarters. I look at the marquee and see my name--a name only my parents called me--scroll past beckoning me for more. I knew I was right.
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12. RPG: HEX: Health Endurance XP [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Joseph Youren
United States
Lincoln City
OR
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Continuing my education as an apprentice Solo RPGer with another example from John Yorio’s blog:

http://tabletopdiversions.blogspot.it/2015/01/solo-role-play....

As the game title explains, H.E.X. stands for Health, Endurance and eXperience. This is a one-page fantasy dungeon crawl by Jeff Moore in which I learn the meaning of a “sandbox” in the RPG context. (A term I have seen used frequently in BGG posts.) Roaming through a cursed ancient keep, I battle Giant Rats the size of dogs, Demon Hounds, and experience a boss fight against a Giant Red-Scaled Lava-Spitting Dragon and die an ignominious death on Level 5. My experience garnered only 2 of the 6 needed keys, 26 XP, and 13 gold. None of which is enough to buy any weapons or armour.

Minimal construction: I slid the single page into a sleeve protector so that I can use Dry Erase marker when traveling. One D6 can get the job done.

Playing this one at home, I used a set of RPG dice as the game progressed and I gained the ability to roll more than a 6. D6’s of differing colors were used to keep track of Health, Endurance, XP, Level and Keys collected.

The author indicates that H.E.X. was inspired by another sandbox: Doom: Semper Fidelis so I think I'll try that next.
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13. RPG: The Quiet Year [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:48]
aaron
United States
Illinois
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Hi everyone, first time posting in here, a cross post from SGOYT. Also my first attemp at a solo rpg, although a more abstract one...There are some SROYT specific comments at the end but here's the original SGOYT post:

It's probably cheating, but I have to link to the Reverend's posting of this from July, it captures the essence of the game beautifully, and is one of my favorite SGOYT posts ever. I bought the Quiet Year immediately after reading it, and my initial attempts at this game, having never done a solo rpg before, are pretty directly inspired by his post (and some poking around the solo rpg guild for other inspiration).

This game, for me, was a fascinating narrative experiment. It's my first attempt at an RPG solo and I made a few failed attempts at it before I really found my groove.

I think playing the game solo almost negates the purpose of the game, which I believe is an experiment in people creating a community, dealing with decisions that they can't control, navigating what could be difficult conversations/events/disagreements, but also collaborating to create that sense of community not just in the game, but also outside of it...

You lose all those aspects when you play solo, but I also think that as a creative endeavor, a narrative experiment (or, maybe, simply, a solo rpg in a way? I feel like I'm not doing justice to what this game is) it's very interesting and fun(?) in a beautiful and melancholy way. And a complete success. Watching the community unfold, trying to survive, thrive...this was a very smart, interesting ride...and I'm glad I can try it again and again and again...

(do these paragraphs even make sense...? I have a lot of thoughts about this game...)

I made a few changes in how I played it, and I think I'll continue to adapt and change how I approach the game in the future, especially as I get more grounded in approaching something like this as a solo gamer. The game asks you to not use any words, but I really struggled keeping track of everything on my own, so I utilized a log for everything that happened. It's basically a not-very-well-written short story. I also got rid of the contempt tokens (which you take when you disagree with a choice another person made); I wasn't sure how I could incorporate them.

I played a two player game, with the second player being a combination of the sci-fi gamemaster's apprentice deck and fate dice to help me make choices from the cards. Having never done this before, it's a bit like reading tea leaves, divining the future from the bottom of a cup...

For my initial landscape I used random geographic coordinates and zoomed in until I could make out some specific space...one game was a valley in Mexico, this game was a coastline of the arctic...

Here's my map at the end:



I feel like I left out a lot on the map because I wrote about things in the log, but I think in future plays I need to focus more on the map.

Here's the log of events:



There are parts that don't make sense, but I think everything came together more as I moved through the cards. It was fairly tense as we moved through winter and then, suddenly, everything came to an end.

I look forward to continuing to play with this, to experiment with it, to find my own space within the rules...I also want to try it with a group...

I think this game could actually be an interesting tool in therapeutic ways, but that's a whole different can of worms....

Definitely not for everyone, but an intriguing experience that I thoroughly enjoyed.

thumbsup

----------------------------------------
A few comments on this first solo-rpg experience: I'm still getting my sea legs in solo rpgs...I've never done an rpg in general (unless it was a video game) so at times I think I made some choices that weren't in the creative spirit of the game but a too-strict interpretation of what was before me, which led to a few moments that never quite fit within the larger narrative that was being created. I also know this isn't a typical solo rpg...or maybe I need to be more open to odd pieces or moments...

This definitely makes me more curious about doing a more traditional rpg solo (or even other abstract ones), I like the challenge it presents to me in adjusting how I think about games and how to play within the various rpg systems (and trying to free my brain so it can play and enjoy the process).

I already picked up a few books to start exploring...the Freeform Universal manual, Fate core system, and the CRGE...

Looking forward to exploring solo rpgs more...thanks for reading....

(Soundtrack: the minimalist post rock of Town & Country but I was so engrossed that when the album ended I just continued to play in silence...)
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14. RPG Item: ÜNE [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:6650]
Reverend Uncle Bastard
Canada
Toronto
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So in case any of you missed the post in the solo roleplayer's guild, designer Zach Best, who created some of my favourite solo RPG tools (including the Universal NPC Emulator, the Conjectural Roleplaying GM Emulator, the Book of Legends and Deeds, and Tales of Significant Situations) is in hospice fighting cancer.

A group of publishers has each donated to a bundle of great RPG PDFs to raise money for his family. You can buy it here and all the money will go to Zach's family:

[url]http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/218759/Zach-Best-Family-... [/url]

You can also buy his awesome solo roleplaying tools for pay-what-you-want if the bundle products don't appeal to you and you still want to get him some money:

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/134163/UNE-The-Universal...
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/137746/BOLD-Universal-PC...
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/145426/CRGE-Conjectural-...
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/138882/TOSS-a-bus-stop-R...
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15. RPG Item: Rifts: The Tomorrow Legion Player's Guide [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Damian DiLuzio
United States
Andover
Minnesota
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I've been enjoying my adventure into Solo RPG, but the amount of work has slowed down my ambitions of playing every RPG I can get my hands on. As a result I've decided to continue to focus on D&D since I have everything I need to continue there.

When I was in high school Rifts came out and the story was so appealing to me and I read the vast majority of the books put out, but the game system was so horrible, that I spent the majority of my time building characters, writing a back story and leaving it at that.

I bought Savage Worlds some time ago as something to play around with, but when I got into this Solo RPG I discovered that Rifts was connected to the Savage Worlds system and I immediately was attracted to it. After saving some money, I was able to purchase The player's book and North America book. I'm working on character creation now and will begin by building a character and entering the world of Rifts.

I'm very excited to get going on this. The world of Rifts is still as interesting to me as it was in the 90s and if the Savage Worlds system works here, I'm looking forward to the adventures I'll actually be able to have.

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16. RPG Item: Blades in the Dark [Average Rating:8.74 Overall Rank:215]
Reverend Uncle Bastard
Canada
Toronto
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Finally got a chance to dig in to Blades in the Dark.



Used my steampunk edition of The GameMaster's Apprentice as my GM emulator, but to be honest, the flow of Blades in the Dark, and the collection of tables for generating people/scores/locations/twists etc. meant that I didn't use the cards very often.



The main mechanism is rolling a small pool of D6 and keeping the highest one. A six is success, a 4/5 is a success with a cost, or a light fail, a 1-3 is a fail or a success with serious costs.



The game also uses "clocks", which are circles divided into 4, 6 or 8 sections that are used to track damage, progress, influence, danger, etc. This mechanism means you don't really need to generate stats of any kind for NPCs. You just drop a clock down to track when they are taken out. These clocks can also track long term game states such as how far each faction has progressed to their main goals etc. Simple genius and visually suited for a dark, steampunk setting.

I set up two characters, Mist and Flint, who formed The Nighthawks, a gang of Assassins.

This game is fantastic, and is well-suited for solo-play. Clearly influenced by the Powered by the Apocalypse system and Fate.

Check out the geeklist for the campaign for more details of my first "score":

The Nighthawks - The Rev plays Blades in the Dark

Also added to my master list of ongoing campaigns:

The Rev's RPG Campaigns Master List!
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17. RPG Item: Apes Victorious [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Reverend Uncle Bastard
Canada
Toronto
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And of course, I cross one unplayed RPG off of my list, and add two more!

These are two short, light, rulesets, both based on early D&D edition rules (1974 version and Redbox Basic I believe). White Lies is an espionage game of modern spies, gadgets and evil masterminds, while Apes Victorious is basically Planet of the Apes the RPG.

Good stuff! Both available on drivethrurpg.
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18. RPG Item: Prince Valiant: The Storytelling Game [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:339]
Eric Dodd
New Zealand
Martinborough
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I've created a little party of three and a story seed for them to follow.

Sir Brocius is a younger son of the King of Lothian, and is heading from Dumbarton to Camelot to meet up with his older brother and be introduced to court. He does not have a war horse or full suit of armour, but hopes to earn them through service to King Arthur. With Sir Brocius is his older Squire Stromach, and a Merchant who wishes to sell his goods at Camelot. They are an odd mixture, and not so well armed as to be certain of an uneventful trip...

Sir Brocius of Lothian - Fame: 800
Description: Inquisitive, Earnest, Unworldly, Young and Fair-haired
Trait: Gullible about Camelot, Loyal to Lothian Clan
Brawn: 3
Presence: 4

Skills: Arms 2, Riding 2, Courtesie 2, Dexterity 1, Jousting 1, Oratory 1

Sword, Lance, Dagger, Ordinary Horse, Medium Armour, Fine Clothes and 5 gold pieces

Squire Stromach of Lothian - Fame: 500
Description: Crafty, Cautious, Pessimistic
Trait: Melancholy
Brawn: 4
Presence: 3

Skills: Arms 2, Riding 1, Agility 1, Brawling 2, Fellowship 1, Hunting 2

Sword, Lance, Dagger, Ordinary Horse, Light Armour, Fine Clothes and 25 silver pieces

Merchant Julian of Durham - Fame: 500
Description: Fat, Jolly, Boisterous
Trait: Glutton for Alcohol, Slothful
Brawn: 2
Presence: 5

Skills: Riding 1, Bargaining 2, Gaming 1, Money-Handling 2, Lore (Trading Routes and Towns) 2, Song 1

Sword, Ordinary Horse, 3 pack animals with Cotton and Whisky (worth 3gp), Fine Clothes

The trio are still three days' ride from Camelot and travelling by a forest track. Julian is singing lustily while Brocius wonders about the types of trees in the forest. Stromach has parsely in his ears to block out the merchant's singing, so all three are surprised when they come to a bridge over a swift flowing stream. A fully armoured knight sits on a huge black horse, with a young quire holding his lance beside him.

'Hold, good sirs! My name is Sir Valentine. Before you pass this bridge one of you must joust with me. Will it be you, my young sir?'

Sir Brocius is nervous but excited. His first real challenge! But this knight appears so well provisioned, and he has no armour or war horse. What to do?
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Ron A
United States
Coronado
California
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Played a couple three games of the MetaArcade beta app. The actual release is supposed to be sometime in August, so look out for it.

If you get this please stay away from the Pax adventures-- they mostly just kill you without giving you much chance to do anything. Random unconnected crowd sourcing is NOT the way to build content.

Anyway, Pax killed 2 adventures in roughly 5 minutes.

The third adventure was Buffalo Castle. Pretty sure about a dozen trips through the castle is the limit-- I know where to go and there isn't much challenge for my 4th level elf, Jor-El. He went through BC like a hot knife though butter.

With any luck, MetaArcade gives us Deathtrap and some more new content with the release.
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Paolo Robino
Italy
Dueville
Vicenza
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Dark Spice, episode III. After the loss of their secret base, the PCs use their contacts to take shelter in the underworld of Nar Shaddaa. However, looks like the doctor they've found in a shady cantina to cure their wounds has some baggage: while taking him to their hideout, they're confronted by an Inquisitor! Incredibly, the PCs manage to wound the Inquisitor and escape unscathed. Turns out that the imbibed doctor is an old acquaintance of one of the PCs, that knew him as a Jedi. The plot thickens...

This was the first time I used The GameMaster's Apprentice to generate NPCs, and it worked fine, both for the destitute Jedi and for the Inquisitor... except for names: I still prefer Gary Gygax's Extraordinary Book of Names for those.
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21. Board Game: Expedition: The Roleplaying Card Game [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:5052]
Eric Miller
United States
College Station
Texas
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Cross-posted from the SGOYT list...

This part of my GenCan't gaming activity.



I had this saved when it was on Kickstarter, but passed. Ended up getting it from Amazon a few weeks ago. I actually played this last night (Friday) after watching my job change 3 times in 36 hours. I wanted something new, yet not terribly taxing.

This game requires an app to play. I paused the app a bit to snap a pic of the game...



...and then went back to using my phone to play the game.

I played the "learning" quest. Easy, as expected. The screens to a good job of walking the player through what they need to do. There is sheet of rules for the game, but it is mostly about what's on the cards. The helper card details the icons used in the game.

As one would expect, combat gets repetitive. Each adventurer (a solo player plays two adventurers) has abilities on cards. These are the actions you can take. Once an ability is used, it goes to a discard pile. When the discard pile is full, it is reshuffled and used again.

You have a time limit to select the abilities. But the timer starts and stops with taps on the app. You can take as long as you want- I played a bit with just drawing the top ability, and other rounds were played when I specifically chose what to do. I'm not sure which was "best," so I'll check around and see what others might have done.

Other than combat, it becomes a CYOA game. Which isn't bad, but there isn't really space in the app to make a good story. The game acknowledges that- in a multiplayer game it is expected the players will be telling more of the story as they play. I didn't experience it, but I would like to think there would be non-combat events where the adventurers would need to use their abilities.

Lastly, this game has a framework to allow for user-created adventures. That, and an expansion currently running on KS should allow for a number of plays. I'll be playing again. But I don't think this will be a top 10 or even top 20 game for me.

There isn't much of a way to "level up" your adventurers. There's no experience, and rewards are just loot. That's another area for improvement in this game.
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22. RPG Item: Star Trader [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked]
JiJi D
United States
Puyallup
Wa
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For my first foray into playing a standard RPG solitaire, I decided to go with my all-time fave sci-fi system Traveller. These rules were meant for Mongoose's iteration of the system and I had originally planned to work with beta 5th--a project a backed and did nothing with once the DVD containing the beta rules arrived. Things did not go so well as a result of me absolutely hating T5, so conceded and chose Mongoose.

I do not believe in not using the ironman character creation. One of the things I love about the classic games is the ability to die during character creation. One MegaTraveller campaign back in my early college years in the late 90s, 4 of my characters died. We were making connections as a group and each time I went through a character, one of my friends always ended up somehow knowing her. He started the game with a complex that all his friends die.

Anyhoo, my first character didn't go so well.

Attempt #1

Human Jane Doe Aged 18
UPP: 89A735
Homeworld: C3337BB-C Na Po A

Background: From a poor, highly populated world, no formal education. Attempted to enlist with smugglers, but failed and started life as a Scavenger. Assigned to wrecking, didn't survive her first term.

I'll be updating this as I progress, of course, but I'm also maintaining more lengthier exploits over here

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23. RPG Item: Solo 04: Naked Doom [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:3818]
Ron A
United States
Coronado
California
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Did a run through using the release version of MetaArcade's T&T Android app.

MetaArcade messed up-- badly. You want to play, but it checks for updates. It downloads one. You pick an adventure, it checks for updates. I played 3 adventures, waited 5 minutes each time for an update. Not fun.

The UI had been redone from the beta, and it looks much nicer. The mini adventures are very mini, just a couple paragraphs each.

They were so short that I played Naked Doom just to see more of the UI. My elf escaped safely, mostly because I've memorized the way out.

The other full scale adventure is Buffalo Castle, which I've also figured out.

Needs more content in the app!!!
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24. RPG: Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) [Average Rating:8.20 Overall Rank:7]
Carl White
United Kingdom
London
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With the battle won Lisandra orders Rufus to go and retrieve Fyn while she, Idril, Cayleb and Tomas interrogate the ensorcelled Darkspawn.

The Darkspawn is only too willing to share everything it knows, and the party finally begin to understand the forces arrayed against them. But the creature is playing for time. Freed of Idril's spell, and with its spectral ally returned, it springs into attack once more!

https://carlillustration.wordpress.com/2017/08/20/the-devils...
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25. RPG Item: The 9Qs [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
Joseph Youren
United States
Lincoln City
OR
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Expanding my Solo RPG horizons. I'm working up a Horse Opera Western that will feature TV and movie characters from my childhood. John Fiore's 9Qs Solo RPG Engine begins with:

Step 1: Choose your RPG - Done. I am studying Fate Core and will so use this game for my rule set.

Step 2: Choose your characters - Done. Lacking imagination (and fearing the real possibilty of getting "stuck" in the game creation phase, I decided to choose characters from US Western television dramatic series I remember from my childhood. Main character: Lucas McCain, single father lead for The Rifleman. Secondary: Tonto, Native American sidekick of The Lone Ranger (but I couldn't go very far down that road so I created: Chief DryBuck, a respected leader of a band of Nez Perce), and Paladin, the ultra-sophisticated trouble-shooter from Have Gun Will Travel.

Step 3: Choose your Random Idea Generator. Done and Done. Have been dying to try out my GMA Base Deck and to stretch it to work with a Western RPG. (I also have Rory's Story Cubes as a back-up should I need).

Step 4: Begin the game.

The 9Qs Engine then asks the player to choose a proactive or reactive initiating event and then guides him/her through GM and Player actions.
I decided I wanted to feature the Tag Symbols on the GMA card so created a meanings chart appropriate to my chosen context:



This was fun in itself. Now I need to work through the Skills, Stunts, and Actions making up most of Fate Core. (Oh, and did I mention this will give me my first organized opportunity to chuck my new Fate Dice?)

For some additional background and inspiration:



This is my family's homestead in Garden Valley, Idaho (as it looks today) at the confluence of Anderson Creek and the Middle Fork of the Payette River. The Youren's were the first recorded settlers to take wagons over the divide from the Boise River Basin to the Payette (1862-ish, early in the American Civil War). Cornish tin miners before emigrating to North America.

PS - First random event coming out of the GMA Base Deck: stampede. How perfect is that?
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